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  1. #1
    cliveh's Avatar
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    Three most important factors in producing a photographic image

    What would you say are the three most important factors in producing a photographic image? For me they are composition, composition and composition.

    “The contemplation of things as they are, without error or confusion, without substitution or imposture, is in itself a nobler thing than a whole harvest of invention”

    Francis Bacon

  2. #2
    Alan Klein's Avatar
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    Well, if the composition is bad, and the photo isn't somewhat compelling, you're probably right. But you do need good exposure and focus as well because composition won't count if the picture is black.

  3. #3

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    I'd say choice of subject is primary to composition, but after choice of subject, it is all composition for me.

  4. #4
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    "But is it art or just compositional technical perfection?"

    You see, we all have our own biases. Whether we can bring ourselves to admit to them or not.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  5. #5
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Depends on what you do with the image.

    If it is for display on the web: subject, composition, then practical considerations that affect the appearance of the image (focus, exposure, colour, resolution, etc.).

    If it is for display in a small print: much the same, with maybe a slight increase in the relative importance of the technical issues.

    If it is for display by digital projection: same as for the small print.

    If it is for display as an optically projected transparency then the technical requirements are integral to the result, as that mode of display emphasizes faults - it may be that bad technique is enough to outweigh good subjects and composition.

    If it is for display as a larger print then the technical requirements are integral to the photographic artifact, so the answer will depend entirely on the intention of the photographer - some will want a print that is like a transparent window to the scene, while others will want something where the qualities of the medium are most important, and themselves a source of beauty and wonder.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #6
    Ken Nadvornick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    ...some will want a print that is like a transparent window to the scene, while others will want something where the qualities of the medium are most important, and themselves a source of beauty and wonder.
    Well said, Matt.

    Ken
    "They are the proof that something was there and no longer is. Like a stain. And the stillness of them is boggling. You can turn away but when you come back they’ll still be there looking at you."

    — Diane Arbus, March 15, 1971, in response to a request for a brief statement about photographs

  7. #7

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    the heart and the eye of the beholder (make that two eyes, if you must have three )

    i pass by hundreds of perfectly composed photographs every day without stopping for a split second--don't you?

  8. #8
    eddie's Avatar
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    There aren't many factors in producing a photographic image. There are lots of them in producing a successful image, though.

  9. #9
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    1) A working camera
    2) loaded with film
    3) and with you.

    Without these it does not matter how interesting the subjects is or how good the composition is.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  10. #10
    Poisson Du Jour's Avatar
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    The question is a little akimbo.
    All photographs have merit in some way. It is a medium for recording a fragment or period of time and can mean many things to all people.

    For the artists amongst us:

    • Composition
    • Impact
    • Technical mastery.


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